Students from Dudley College are helping to make Christmas a little more special thanks to wardens at Saltwells Nature Reserve.
16 students with special educational needs who attend the college, visit the nature reserve once a week as part of their horticultural studies. They learn site maintenance, habitat management and are working towards a City and Guilds qualification, with some working towards their Junior Forester’s Award and John Muir Award.
As part of their studies they have helped to coppice willow from Doulton’s Claypit, a key feature of the 250 acre site. With the additional holly and ivy which they also cut back as part of their seasonal maintenance, the students are able to create Christmas wreaths which they sell to raise funds for the reserve.
The course and the hands-on skills it teaches also helps the young people with their social and communication skills, confidence and helps them on the path to employment and a sense of independence.
Rose Golding, course tutor said:
The students absolutely love the time they get to spend outdoors on the reserve. The wardens are great at explaining about the reserve’s nature and ecology and have helped the students develop additional practical skills that they just can’t get in the classroom.
The wreaths are a fantastic way of taking what is essentially a waste product and transforming them into something beautiful, raising funds for the reserve on the way. It’s our way of saying thank you for the support we get from the wardens
Councillor Karen Shakespeare, cabinet member for environmental, highways and street services said:
I’m really glad that we are able to support these young people with their studies and build on their enthusiasm for nature and conservation.
I’d particularly like to thank these Dudley college students for their generosity in donating the profits from the sales of these wreaths – as they do every year - to supporting the reserve. We have great plans for Saltwells and I hope that these enthusiastic and hard-working young people continue to be a part of it.
The students sell the wreaths through the college but also take orders. Anyone wishing to place an order should email firstname.lastname@example.org